Torticollis: Overview

Torticollis is a rare musculoskeletal disorder which involves the muscles of the neck, and causes the tilting of the head to one side.

Torticollis is typically characterized by contracture of the neck muscles. In this disorder, the neck muscles of affected individuals extend beyond their normal range of motion, causing pain and stiffness. As such, individuals suffering from the disorder experience difficulty in carrying out daily tasks.

The term 'Torticollis' has been derived from a combination of two Latin words --- 'tortus' meaning 'twisted/tilted,' and 'collum' meaning neck.

Torticollis is also known as 'wry neck.' This disorder is generally defined by an unusual, unbalanced neck or head position, because of several reasons. Since the disorder leads to a painful twisting of the neck, the top of the head typically tilts to one side and the chin tilts to the other side.

Torticollis is of two main types:

  • Congenital Muscular Torticollis
  • Acquired Torticollis.

Congenital Muscular Torticollis is the most common type of Torticollis which is present in babies at birth. Though the exact cause of this type of Torticollis is not clearly known, it is believed that the condition is caused by birth trauma, inadequate blood supply to the neck, or intrauterine malposition, due to which the sternocleidomastoid muscle in the neck gets damaged at birth.

Acquired Torticollis is non-congenital muscular torticollis which may be sporadic or permanent (because of tuberculosis of the spine). Acquired Torticollis is mostly related to some serious health condition which may include the scarring or ailments of cervical vertebrae, enlarged cervical glands, rheumatism, adenitis, tonsillitis, cerebellar tumors, or retropharyngeal abscess.

Torticollis: Symptoms

Symptoms of Torticollis appear gradually, and became worse over a period of time. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of the disorder are:

  • Swollen muscles of the neck
  • Tenderness or pain in neck and shoulder muscles
  • Tilting of the chin to one side
  • Inability to move the head normally
  • Pain or stiffness in the neck
  • Decreased neck movement
  • Headache
  • Tremors in the head
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tenderness on the cervical spine
  • Imbalanced shoulders (with one shoulder appearing higher than the other).

Torticollis: Ayurvedic approach

According to Ayurveda, the body structures, comprising bones (Asthi) and muscles (Mamsa/Peshi), which supports the body or hold the complete body which is called Dhatus. Hence, it is important to take care of the Dhatus altogether, in order to ensure a healthy musculoskeletal system.

Ayurveda believes that equilibrium of the body's three energies (Doshas) -- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha -- needs to be maintained to enjoy a disease-free life. As per Ayurveda, neck disorders like Torticollis are a result of an aggravation of the Vyana Vata -- an aspect of Vata which governs an individual's circulation, metabolism, and nerve impulses -- which has a drying effect on the Shleshaka Kapha subdosha of Kapha that governs the lubrication of joints.

The different aspects considered by Ayurvedic experts for managing Torticollis include diet modifications, massage of the neck muscle, use of herbal formulations, and stress-relieving exercises like yoga, breathing exercises, and intensive muscle training.

Ayurvedic treatment of Torticollis can be extremely effective in managing Torticollis because it can strengthen the neck's para-vertebral muscles, provide relief from Cervical pain, control the degenerative changes of the cervical spine, reduces muscle spams, pacify excess Vata, and reduce the inflammation of the back, neck and shoulder region.

Torticollis: Treatment

The treatment of Torticollis may involve the use of pain-relieving or muscle relaxant medications, neck braces, and physical therapy or chiropractic care. In addition, some other treatments for Torticollis includes the application of heat, traction, and stretching exercises for improving neck movements.

In some cases, doctors may also recommend certain surgeries for Torticollis patients. These surgeries may involve lengthening of neck muscles, fusing abnormal vertebrae, cutting nerves or muscles, or using deep brain stimulation to interrupt nerve signals (in severe cases).

Torticollis can also be effectively managed in a safe and natural way, with the help of beneficial herbal medications. Renowned herbal manufacturing company Planet Ayurveda offers the following herbal products -- prepared from 100% pure herbs -- for the management of Torticollis:

1.Ashwagandha capsules

Standardized extract of the widely known 'Ashwagandha' herb (Withania somniferum) is used for the preparation of these capsules. The potent herb has immense medicinal significance and anti-inflammatory properties.

The use of these capsules can benefit patients suffering from Torticollis because the capsules have the ability to strengthen the muscles, support nerve functions, reduce metabolic imbalances, improve brain function, enhance heart health, reduce hypertension, manage inflammation, and balance the body's Vata and Pitta doshas.

Dosage: 2 capsules, two times a day, with plain water, after 30 mins of the meals.

2.Musali Strength capsules

Standardized extracts of two potent herbs -- Safed Musli (Chlorophytum borivilianum) and Gokshura (Tribulus terrestri) -- are used for preparing these capsules, which are considered as a remarkable herbal formulation for maintaining overall good health.

The use of these capsules is very beneficial in managing Torticollis because the herbal ingredients have proven properties to provide strength to the muscles, improve blood circulation, treat weakness, boost the immune system, treat hormonal imbalances, and improve nervous disorders.

Dosage: 1-2 capsules, once or twice a day, with plain water, after 30 mins of the meals.

3.Boswellia Curcumin capsules

Two beneficial anti-inflammatory herbal ingredients -- Shallaki (Boswellia serrata) and Curcumin (Curcuma longa) -- are used for the preparation of these capsules. The Shallaki herb is known for its ability to fight inflammation, whereas Curcumin is an excellent antioxidant.

The use of these capsules can benefit people affected by Torticollis because these herbal ingredients can support healthy functioning of joints, improve the biochemical structure of cartilage, increase blood supply to joint tissue, enhance the immune system, and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

Dosage: 2 capsules, two times a day, with plain water, after 30 mins of the meals.

4.Atirasadi churna

The beneficial herbal components of this herbal powder include

  • Safed Musli (Chlorophytum borivilianum)
  • Kali Musli (Curculigo orchioides)
  • Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris)
  • Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans)
  • Taalmakhana (Hygrophila spinosa)
  • Vidaari Kand (Pueraria tuberosa)
  • Akarkara (Anacyclus pyrethrum)
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
  • Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)
  • Safed Behmen (Centaurea behen)
  • Varahi Kand (Dioscorea tuberosa)
  • Kesar (Crocus sativus)

The combination of these potent components can manage several health complications.

This churna is considered as an excellent natural supplement, which can be beneficial for Torticollis patients because of the ability of its components to maintain the body strength, support normal metabolism of tissues, maintain 'Shukra dhatu,' and balance Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas of the body.

Dosage: One teaspoonful, two times a day, with plain water.


Torticollis is, in general, not a life-threatening disorder. However, it needs to be managed effectively in time because it may sometimes (in severe cases) indicate an injury or irritation to the structures of the central nervous system (that is, the brain and/or spinal cord). In such cases, a person affected by Torticollis may experience difficulties in breathing, swallowing, speaking or walking; along with urinary or fecal incontinence, and weakness and numbness in arms and legs. Hence, it is advisable to consult expert Ayurveda practitioners for the management of Torticollis in a timely manner, to avoid serious health complications.

Author's Bio: 

DR. Vikram Chauhan, MD - AYURVEDA is an expert Ayurvedic practitioner based in Chandigarh, India and doing his practice in Mohali, India. He is spreading the knowledge of Ayurveda Ancient healing treatment, not only in India but also abroad. He is the CEO and Founder of Planet Ayurveda Products, Planet Ayurveda Clinic, and Krishna Herbal Company. For more info visit our website: